How to Destroy Your Business in 4 Easy Steps

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<p>Managers. Leaders. Directors. Founders. Executives. Read thisit might save your business.Its often reported that 80% of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. I dont have evidence for that statistic, but I have no reason to suspect its incorrect.But what about existing businesses? The ones that are failing, but instead of crashing and burning overnight, theyre slowly dying.Bad leaders kill businesses. Stop running away and take responsibility for your organisation.Ive seen, worked alongside and worked for someterriblemanagers. Ill name no names here, but you probably know who you are.In my experience, these are some of the best ways of utterly decimating your business, often without even noticing. But you will notice eventually.Failing to trust your staff.Steve Jobs famously said:It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so that they can tell us what to do.So many founders acknowledge the need to delegate work and bring in outside talent, but they then struggle to let go of aspects of their business. As a result, micromanagement it rife, creativity is stifled, relationships are strained and job satisfaction minimised.That being said, my former CEO at QinetiQ (Leo Quinn) once told me thatempowerment without measurement is abandonment. In many ways I think hes absolutely correct; its the leaders job to set the goal and put a structure in place for regularly assessing progress but allowing the employees to determine how to execute.More than 50% of people who leave a job do so because of their relationship (or lack of!) with their boss. If you have a great team and lots of them are leaving, you need to start asking yourself some very serious questions.People dont leave jobs, they leave managers.Looking at the wrong numbers.Please, what happened to running a business from a good P+L and a balance sheet?Sure, we have many more tools and measurements available to us than ever before. Thats both a blessing and a curse.Its a blessing because, in the right hands, we have so much more potential for assessing and optimising specific aspects of our businesses, all of which seem to be increasing in complexity.Its a curse because we now that have so many other metrics to fascinate us, we lose sight of the fundamentals of running a successful business.Remember:revenue is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is king.I dont see any mention of social reach or insight there, do you?Put the Twitter Analytics away and start looking at how much cash you have, where its coming from, where its going and when.Putting shareholders ahead of customers and staff.Sounds like I am contradicting the point above, right? Wrong.Unless you consistently try to do whats best for your employees and clients, you soon might not have too many shareholders to worry about. Businesses are obsessed with delivering to shareholder expectations in very short periods of time, and nearly always losing key customers and staff in the process.Look past the next quarter, folk.Look after both your customers and your staff, and the shareholders will ultimately benefit. Its a longer game. Stop living from board meeting to board meeting, trying to impress with short-term results and ambitious figures.No focus.This one applies to me as much as anyone else; I'm a sucker for getting tied-up in the next idea or project, to the detriment of existing work. I guess its like being a magpie; always chasing whatever shines brightest. Theres a degree of value in that, but its something to watch out for.Be clear on who you are as a business, who your customers are, what youre offering and how youll reach them. Focus on executing on this, assessing success and adjusting course accordingly.Chasing everything at once means its unlikely that youll succeed at anything youre doing.Set clear goals and targets for good reasons. Put in place a solid plan of strategies and tactics for execution. Track your progress. Learn. Repeat. Dont be distracted.Head on over more info. We love to chat.</p>